Asbestos was once called the “miracle material.” That comes as no surprise because this material is made out of fine and durable fibers resistant to heat and many chemicals. And of course, asbestos was cheap. Because of that, it was extensively used in the building industry.
Asbestos was not used in construction since the 1980s, but before that, it was used extensively. Over 70.000 houses built in New South Wales after the World War Two were built using asbestos cement, and over 98% of houses constructed in Victoria contain traces of asbestos.
You might think that you’re safe from asbestos because it has not been used in domestic building materials for a long time, but the truth is that asbestos was banned in Australia on December 31, 2003.
Therefore, if your home was built or renovated somewhere before 1990, there’s a big chance that it contains asbestos, so let’s take a look at how can you find out if your house is trying to kill you.
How to check for asbestos
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to detect asbestos by visually inspecting your home. The only way you can find out if there’s asbestos in your home is to send suspected asbestos fibers to a lab for analysis.
This type of testing can cost from 100$ to 800$ depending on how many things you want to get tested. Here’s what you should get tested:
- Insulation – Wall and attic insulation in homes built from 1930 to 1980 likely contains asbestos.
- Floor and ceiling tiles
- Heat and water pipes – Especially adhesives and exterior wraps
- Heat-proofing surrounds
- Roofing and siding
- Walls and ceilings – Patching materials commonly contained asbestos
- Garages and carports
- Garden sheds
A cheaper way to check whether you have asbestos in your home is to check original building documents, so if you have them, check them out and save some money.
Why is asbestos bad?
Asbestos is what can be called a silent killer. It’s odorless, and it’s impossible to spot with the naked eye. The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through the air we breathe in. It’s important to say that asbestos materials are generally not considered dangerous and harmful unless they’re releasing dust or fibers into the air.
Many of these fibers get trapped in the membranes of the nose and throat, but some pass into the lungs or get swallowed, and once they get trapped in the body, they cause many health problems.
Three primary diseases associated with asbestos are:
- Lung cancer – People who have been exposed to asbestos or some other carcinogen have a higher chance of getting lung cancer.
- Mesothelioma – Virtually all cases of this rare form of cancer that occurs in in the lining of the lungs and chest and sometimes heart are linked to asbestos exposure.
- Asbestosis – This serious, non-cancerous, and chronic respiratory disease happens when inhaled asbestos fibers aggravate lung tissues and cause them to scar.
How to get rid of asbestos?
Living with asbestos is a reality of many of those who live in older homes, but with containment, encapsulation, and covering or completely removing it by a professional the risk of exposure to this harmful mineral is lowered.
The most important thing to remember is that you should never try to remove asbestos by yourself since there’s a big chance you’ll damage your lungs. If you live in Australia, find a company that deals with asbestos removal from Brisbane or your own town, and let the professionals take care of it.
Once you get asbestos out of your home, don’t forget to contact an independent inspector who is certified to do asbestos abatement work and let him check your home. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.